NORFOLK, Va. – The Virginia Arts Festival exemplifies the state at its finest, celebrating top talent and the level of patriotism for which the area is famous.
The 2012 festival runs through June, offering a blend of world-class concerts, drama, dance, jazz and much more to cities around Hampton Roads. Festivities converge with OpSail, the first commemorative international tall ship sailing event locally since 2000.
Groups will find more than 1,000 area hotel rooms and discounted rates for groups of 15 and more. Adult group rates represent savings of up to 15 percent and student group prices are 50 percent off full ticket prices unless otherwise noted. Discounts are not offered for Al Pacino: One Night Only or jazz musician Chris Botti’s trumpet performance.
Among the most anticipated events is the Virginia International Tattoo, a two-hour celebration of goodwill and generosity of spirit including performances of hundreds of musicians and dancers from around the world.
This year’s show commemorates the national celebration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the National Anthem. The Tattoo includes performers from many countries including Canada, Albania, Australia, Belgium, The Netherlands, Scotland and New Zealand.
East minute of the show took about 500 hours to prepare, said Scott Jackson, general manager and producer of the Virginia International Tattoo.
“It stands out in the year 2012 as unlike anything else,” he said.
The Tattoo Hullabaloo two hours before each performance allows people to interact with performers, sample food and drink beer.
For a complete lineup of events, visit www.vafest.org. Some highlights are:
• Mahler’s 8th Symphony, with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, is 8 p.m. May 26 at William and Mary Hall in Williamsburg.
• Al Pacino: One Night Only, during which Pacino shares takes from his experiences with theater and film and readings from his favorite roles is 8 p.m. June 28 at Chrysler Hall.
Tall Ships will arrive to commemorate the War of 1812 and the Star Spangled Banner for OpSail June 2–12 in Norfolk. The non-profit event has celebrated patriotic American milestones in New York Harbor in 1976, 1986, 1992 and 2000.
Save the date for the 2013 events, including the Virginia Chocolate Festival, March 23; The Birmingham Royal Ballet, April 19–21; Virginia International Tattoo, April 25–28; Virginia Beer Fest, May 18–19; and Rite of Spring, May 29.
For more information, visit www.vafest.org; or contact Dianna Starkey, tourism and group sales director at (757) 282-2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org.